CHICAGO — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has hired public finance veteran and former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch to act as senior financial advisor for a new financial review board that will oversee Detroit's finances as the city emerges from bankruptcy.
Ravitch will also act as special liaison to the state of Michigan, Snyder announced Tuesday. A long-time public figure who played a key role in New York City's restructuring, Ravitch also acted as an advisor to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes during the Detroit bankruptcy trial.
The commission will hold its first meeting Wednesday in Detroit.
The board, which was created last year by state legislation as part of the city's plan to emerge from bankruptcy, will be made up of nine members, including the gubernatorial appointees. State Treasurer Kevin Clinton will be the chair and budget director John Roberts will also be on the board. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones are also on the board.
The council is charged with overseeing, reviewing and approving Detroit's four-year financial plan, budgets, and establishing requirements for fiscal management.
In addition to Ravitch, Snyder named to the board: Darrell Burks, a former senior partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers; Stacy Fox, until recently deputy emergency manager for Detroit and founder and principal of the Roxbury Group, a real estate development and investment firm; Lorron James, vice president of automotive logistics firm the James Group International; Bill Martin, former athletic director of the University of Michigan and founder of a real estate construction, development and management firm; and Tony Saunders, a director at restructuring firm Conway MacKenzie, Inc. and former emergency manager for the city of Benton Harbor.
"I appreciate the expertise each member brings to this commission, which will play a critical role in partnering to move the city of Detroit forward," Snyder said in a statement. "The state, the city, its residents and Southeast Michigan are represented on this commission, which will work collaboratively with local leaders to continue building a brighter future for our largest city."
Rhodes, in his Nov. 7 ruling affirming the city's confirmation plan, warned that having two Detroit officials on a board overseeing the city's financial decisions would be an obvious conflict of interest. Rhodes urged Snyder to replace the city positions with two independent financial professionals.